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WATCH: The whole crowd roared her snippy line “She’s DEAD!” at the conclusion of a provocatively teasing Look What You Made Me Do, presaging Swift’s artistic rebirth in the more subtle shades and staging of a compressed Folklore / Evermore Era (both albums released in 2020)

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WATCH: The whole crowd roared her snippy line “She’s DEAD!” at the conclusion of a provocatively teasing Look What You Made Me Do, presaging Swift’s artistic rebirth in the more subtle shades and staging of a compressed Folklore / Evermore Era (both albums released in 2020)

 

These two understated pandemic albums really affirmed Swift’s serious status as a classic singer-songwriter to even the most sceptical audiences but prove the most challenging in a vast stadium environment, which perhaps makes sense of their reduction from last year’s setlist.

 

WATCH: The whole crowd roared her snippy line “She’s DEAD!” at the conclusion of a provocatively teasing Look What You Made Me Do, presaging Swift’s artistic rebirth in the more subtle shades and staging of a compressed Folklore / Evermore Era (both albums released in 2020)

There is a quality of touchy-feely interlude as she sings from the roof and on the doorstep of a stage cottage in washes of acoustic Americana, the dark, witchy Kate Bush drama of My Tears Ricochet, Marjorie and Willow resonating strongly under darkening skies in Macbeth country.

Whether it is long, lyrical narratives from her most folky albums or sharply turned pop bangers from her smash hits, Swift’s audience sing every word, as if they have been studying the script for their big night. Nevertheless, the 1989 Era (from her global smash 2014 album) acts as a kind of premature climax, jam-packed with her biggest hits (Style, Blank Space, Shake It Off, Bad Blood) staged with sharp, clean edges, bright colours and eye-catching production gimmicks (dancers in boxes, a digital car being smashed up with glowing hockey sticks).

It’s a belter, and two hours into any other stadium extravaganza, you might assume you had reached the moment when fireworks would erupt and we could all head home, but Swift is still building her own pop empire, with both of her most recent releases to come.

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